Dr. Harvey J. Burkhart
Rochester, New York — 1864-1946
With the death of Dr. Burkhart on September 22, 1946, dentistry lost one of its most colorful and notable figures. As a dentist, teacher, diplomat and public spirited citizen , Dr. Burkhart was honored and respected by all who knew him.
Dr. Burkhart was born Cleveland, Ohio, August 4, 1864. He became interested in dentistry when he moved to Dansville, New York, to live with a brother who was a dentist. Following graduation from the Dansville Seminary, he entered the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, and graduated in 1890 with high honors.
He practiced dentistry for 25 years in Batavia, New York, where his special interest in preventive dentistry and orthodontics brought him early recognition of his abilities and talents as a dental leader. His desire to serve also inspired him to get involved in politics. He was elected the first Mayor of Batavia in 1914.
Later, after moving to Rochester, New York in 1916, his interest in community affairs encouraged George Eastman of Eastman Kodak to turn to Dr. Burkhart as his spokesman in the crusade to obtain a city manager government. Mr. Eastman was so impressed with his talents and abilities that he selected Dr. Burkhart as the Director and Supervisor of the Eastman Dental Clinics in Brussels, London, Paris, Rome, and Stockholm. This involved him in negotiations with many heads of state in which his innate diplomacy and ability to win and influence friends made him a great success.
Dr. Burkhart was the recipient of many honors, both in this country and abroad. American Honors: Jarvic Fellowship Medal, Dental Society of State of New York; Gold Medal, Callahan Award, Ohio State Dental Association. There were numerous other awards and medals.
He was the first President of the American Dental Association in 1899. Prior to his election as President of the ADA, he also served as President of the Dental Society of New York, President of the New York State Board of Dental Examiners, Honorary President of the International Dental Foundation in 1946. His European Honors were many: Officer Order of Cavalier, Italy; Commander Royal Order of Vasas, Sweden: Order of Leopold II, Belgium; Commander of the Legion of Honor, France; Gold Medal, Medical Division, Department of Health, France. He was elected to Honorary Membership of the Swedish and Polish Dental Associations. These are a few of the honors bestowed upon Dr. Burkhart.
The Academy is privileged and honored to induct Dr. Burkhart into the PFA International Hall of Fame of Dentistry.